Complete Disassembly of GTX 1060 - The Road to DIY 1060 Hybrid

By Published July 20, 2016 at 9:15 pm
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Our “Hybrid” mods aren't necessarily something we recommend for cards like the RX 480 and GTX 1060 – you're increasing cost of the card by 30% just to add a CLC – but the mods have routinely discovered throttle points. The GTX 1080 was our first Hybrid mod (one which we would actually recommend), and gave us an additional ~100MHz OC with perfectly flat clock-rate stability – something sorely lacking on the FE card. That's what we want, and will help further smooth over the 1% low and 0.1% low performance metrics (explained here).

Today, we embarked upon our journey to build a GTX 1060 “Hybrid” card. This is a DIY approach to liquid cooling the GTX 1060, and aims to stabilize the clock-rate over time to eliminate spurious frametime performance. We also hope to reduce thermals drastically enough that the overall noise levels will be reduced, presumably while maintaining a lower thermal value. This is what happened when we ran the same test on the RX 480 ($240) – it was trivial to run the radiator fan at 30% on the RX 480 “Hybrid” and keep lower thermals than stock.

Honestly, though, this GTX 1060 Hybrid endeavor is mostly within the realm of “because we want to.” It's not something you should necessarily do – that's an extra $50-$100 to throw a cooler on a card that's ~$250 to $300. Poor value. But we're doing it anyway, and hopefully we'll learn something about the performance and clock stability along the way.

Tear-Down of GTX 1060 Founders Edition

The 1060 FE was pretty easy to tear apart. A few screws on the back-side connect the PCB to the baseplate, some allen head screws on the top and bottom sides secure the faceplate to the card, and a few internal screws lock the right-side fins over the PCI-e connector. A few photos to tell the story:

gtx-1060-teardown-2

gtx-1060-teardown-baseplate-under

gtx-1060-teardown-gpu

gtx-1060-teardown-heatsink

gtx-1060-teardown-vrm

The heatsink mounted on the right seems mostly non-functional, likely used for aesthetics purposes and for (potentially) cooling the PCI-e power input. The fins have a ridgeline down the center of them, blocking air intake from hitting the blower fan in a traditional fashion. There is effectively no side intake to the blower fan – it's all coming in through the face.

Casing surrounds the blower fan to help direct airflow into the heatsink, which is a good deal less complex than the GTX 1080 heatsink. There are no heatpipes or vapor chambers – just a solid copper block for the cold-plate (a thick one, at that) and black coated aluminum fins. This mounts primarily atop the GPU proper, with the card's baseplate taking care of VRAM (through contact with thermal pads) and the VRM. Fins protrude from the MOSFETs to assist with dissipation, and the chokes are exposed between the GPU substrate and the MOSFETs.

Removing the baseplate reveals that nVidia's GTX 1060 uses the same memory modules as the RX 480 does (Samsung *-HC25). Each module is 1GB in capacity, split between six modules on the board for 6GB total capacity.

The GPU is labeled as GP106-400, and is an A-rev (A01) product. This is not a lab sample and is representative of the final retail device (rev A01).

Stay tuned for part two, where we attempt to mount a liquid cooler! We actually faced a lot of difficulty with this one, so it'll be an interesting progression to follow.

Editorial: Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke
Video: Andrew “ColossalCake” Coleman

Last modified on July 20, 2016 at 9:15 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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